The U.S. Postal Service has issued a stamp celebrating NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope. As the world’s premier space science observatory, Webb is the largest, most powerful, and most complex science telescope ever put in space. The stamp, which features an illustration of the observatory, was dedicated in a ceremony on Thursday, September 8, at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in Washington.
“When anyone who uses these stamps looks at this telescope, I want them to see what I see: its incredible potential to reveal new and unexpected discoveries that help us understand the origins of the universe, and our place in it,” said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana. “This telescope is the largest international space science program in U.S. history, and I can’t wait to see the scientific breakthroughs it will enable in astronomy.”
Webb, a mission led by NASA in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency), launched on December 25, 2021, from Kourou – Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Over the following months, Webb traveled to its destination at the second Lagrange point nearly one million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth, underwent weeks of complex deployments to unfold into its final configuration, and prepared its mirrors and science instruments to capture never-before-seen views of the universe.
On July 12, NASA released Webb’s first full-color images and spectra, providing a first look at the observatory’s powerful capabilities. The U.S. Postal Service stamp honors these achievements as Webb continues its mission to explore the unknown in our universe and study every phase in cosmic history.
“I am excited to add this beautiful stamp to our collection, as we watch from the ground as humanity’s newest and most capable telescope unlocks the greatest secrets of our cosmos that have been waiting to be revealed since the beginning of time,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “The Webb Telescope represents the start to a new era of what we can accomplish for the benefit of all.”
The stamp features a stunning artist’s digital illustration of Webb against a background of stars. The selvage around each set of stamps showcases a sharp image of a star, captured while setting up the telescope in space to confirm the precise alignment of Webb’s 18 hexagonal mirror segments.